It's been a while since I picked up an historical fiction novel set in the medieval/renaissance period and boy did I forget how much I LOVE all the drIt's been a while since I picked up an historical fiction novel set in the medieval/renaissance period and boy did I forget how much I LOVE all the drama that goes along with a royal court. I mean the plotting, deception, and intrigue of that world. *love it* Not to mention all the finery and chivalry that one will often find in that type of setting that just isn't in our modern day world, and Grave Mercy has it all.
The historical setting of Grave Mercy based in truth. The court Ismae must infiltrate is the real court of Anne Duchess of Brittany, and many of the people at court were real as well. As with any historical fiction the author has taken liberties and created charters to enhance the story she is trying to tell. If you are interested in the history behind the book (a I was) the author has provided a wonderful "authors note" on her website.
This story however is not strict historical fiction, it's historical fantasy, and the mythology created for this world is pure magic. The Brenton gods have been refashioned by the Catholic Church as saints. It was common practice for the Catholic Church to incorporate pagan beliefs into their own traditions to make it easier to convert people to Christianity. In the world of His Fair Assassin these gods, now saints are more than just myth they are real. Ismae being a daughter of Death himself has been given special gifts that make her an adept assassin.
Right from the beginning of the book we learn about Ismae's struggled pass. She has a large red stain with welts and scars on her back, marks left by an herbwitch's poison her mother took to expel her from her womb. The fact Ismae survived, the herbwitch said, was proof that Ismae was a daughter of death himself. As young woman Ismae barely escapes a terrible arranged marriage and finds her self at the Convent of St. Mortain where the nuns still serve the the Breton god of death. Ismae spends the next three years training to be one of Death's handmaidens and is currently serving the convent as a novice. Ismae must prove she is ready to take her vows and be come a full sister of the convent and devote her life to doling out the vengeance of Mortain. To do so she must complete her first kills, but things get complicated when her assignment to follow Gavriel Duval a Brenton noble causes her to question the true intentions of the convent. Even worse is that she just might, maybe be falling for him.
Really I can't blame Ismae one bit for falling for Duval, because I pretty much fell for him myself. Maybe its the whole historical setting, I'm pretty much a sucker for period guys. Not to mention that Duval isn't your typical YA love interest (that being a teenage boy, which I don't tend to fall for because, I'm not a teenage girl.) I wouldn't exactly say he was charming, but he is very much a gentleman, chivalry can go a long way. There was also his devotion to the duchess that totally won me over. As Ismae fought over her growing feelings for him I found my self hoping he was truly what he presented himself to be, not only for her sake, but because I was falling hard for this fictional guy myself.
I would recommend this title to anyone who enjoys historical fiction as well as fairytale fantasy books. Over all I think girls will enjoy this book more, but I believe there is enough action (she is an assassin after all) to keep a guys interest as well. The romance isn't too over powering to turn a guy completely off, but the tension between Ismae and Duval will satisfy romance fans.
I truly enjoyed this book and wish I didn't have to wait a year for Dark Triumphthe second book in the trilogy to come out, but so is life. I'm sure I'll find plenty of other stories to fill the gap. ...more
Beastly was hard to get into at first for me. Kyle was just SO self absorbed I had a really hard time reading him., but that's the point I guess. He iBeastly was hard to get into at first for me. Kyle was just SO self absorbed I had a really hard time reading him., but that's the point I guess. He is a beast after all, he has to be shallow and self absorbed at first. Once the transformation takes place the story starts to pick up, but the change in his personalty doesn't really start to happen till "Beauty" shows up.
I liked the concept of telling the story from the beasts perspective though. I thought that was unique, we are so often told this story from the girls perspective that it was refreshing (once he stopped being so full of himself) to see it from his perspective. Of course since this is a modern retelling of beauty and the beast the plot is pretty predictable, but it was neat to see the story played out in NYC.
I also really enjoyed the chat room sequences between each part I found them rather amusing, and would like to see Alex Flinn write some of the other chat room members stories as well.
Over all I enjoyed the story. If you are reading this and finding Kyle hard to read just remember he is supposed to be self absorbed and conceited if he wasn't the wouldn't have been transformed in to the beast and there would be no story. ...more
The primes of this book was cute, and I wanted to like this one more than I did, but 1/2 way through the story just kinda fell flat for me.
my biggestThe primes of this book was cute, and I wanted to like this one more than I did, but 1/2 way through the story just kinda fell flat for me.
my biggest issue was the charters. at first I liked both Dash and Lily, what's not to like about two people who find each other via a notebook in a bookstore? But Dash turned out to be a pretentious hipster, and lily just didn't really leave much of an impression on me. I guess when you think about it she kinda was the sheet of paper in Collation the fictional Pixar movie the authors came up with about office supplies that fall in love (really?)
(view spoiler)[The first time they meet, (view spoiler)[ when Lily has gotten herself drunk from a few to many sips of other peoples drinks (hide spoiler)] just felt forced, it wasn't natural, and felt way out of character for Lily. I get that they were looking for something to shake up their "relationship" but it was just not the best way way to accomplish it, not that I have any suggestions or anything. (hide spoiler)]
Overall the premise was cute, and I think having something like Dash and Lily's book would be a lot of fun, but the story just didn't deliver. I wouldn't say I disliked the book, I never had one of those moments were I toy with the idea of not finishing the book, it just didn't live up to my expectations. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and yeI knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and yes I’m one of those people you see at the Renaissance Faire dressed in costume and if 18th and 19th century costumes were so expensive I would probably have those too. I also worked in a living history museum one summer (sadly it wasn’t as an interpreter, so no period dress for me.) So, when I the synopsis of Past Perfect my inner history geek jumped for joy. A YA novel set in an historical reenactment village *yay!*
The premise of the book is super cute too. Chelsea has worked at Essex Historical Colonial Village as an historical interpreter since she was little. She is trying to get over her ex, who decides to work at Essex over the summer too. At the same time she is trying not to fall for a boy from the rival civil war camp across the street, because every year the junior interrupters from the colonial village (unbeknownst to the adults) go to war with the kids from the civil war camp , so falling for a boy from the wrong century is a major problem. It’s very R&J/West Side Story, by no means an original story, but the setting makes it very unique and a whole lot of fun.
I also really liked Chelsea, she was fun to read and I felt I could really relate to her. That could be due to the fact that although Chelsea doesn’t think of herself as a “history nerd” she fosters a love for history that comes from growing up around it, and the fact that she says/thinks things like this “In his suspenders, loose-fitting vest, and felt hat, he looked even better than when I'd seen him in a T-shit and cut-offs. What can I say; I have a thing for guys in period dress, okay? That's Just who I am.” (pg. 126.) Which I can absoulty relate to. Love of history withstanding, Chelsea is very genuine and a joy to read. She isn’t perfect by any means and has flaws but it makes her believable and that is why I enjoyed reading her.
The book has a quite a bit of historical jargon and references which might get overlooked if you’re not a history person, but Leila Sales does a very good job of explaining the nuances of working in a living history museum. You can tell she’s had experience in this environment with historical reenactors. Ms. Sales also does a fantastic job of explaining the way we choose to portray the past. History happens to those who have lived it, and written by those who remember or interpret it. Whether it’s a major historical event like the Boston Massacre or our own life it’s how we choose to remember the past or interpreted the facts that determines how the past is remembered.
I really enjoyed Past Perfect. The setting was original and fun (mind you I’m a bit biased since I’m a total history geek). The characters are honest and genuine, they all have flaws, yet you can’t help but root for them. The story was believable, which is a big deal to me when dealing with realistic fiction, if I want to suspend my disbelief I’ll read fantasy and sci-fi books (which I read quite a bit of) but I like my realistic fiction to be just that, realistic. Over all it’s a book I truly enjoyed and would absolutely recommend, especially if you are a bit of a history geek like me. ...more
The Tea Rose is one of my favorite books. I first read this book in 2005 after my mom had passed the book along to me, I then passed it on to my sisteThe Tea Rose is one of my favorite books. I first read this book in 2005 after my mom had passed the book along to me, I then passed it on to my sister (who unlike me is not an avid reader) and we all loved the book. The mass-market copy was so tattered and worn I went out and bought a replacement copy for my mom that Christmas. Since then I’ve re-read this book several times, and would constantly recommend this title to customers when I worked at a book store. I was very pleased when I learned Jennifer Donnelly was writing a sequel to it (The Winter Rose)and eventually with plans to make it a trilogy (The Wild Rose).
When recommending this book I would describe it as part historical fiction, part romance and part mystery, but it’s really more than that. It’s an epic tale about a young woman, Fiona Finnegan who works in an East London Tea factory in the late 19th century. Fiona has dreams of one day owning her own tea shop with her long time childhood friend Joe Bristow, but due unforeseen events her dreams do not exactly happen as she plans.
(It’s been a while since I’ve read this book. Planning on writing a more in-depth review once the story is again fresh in my mind)